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FEATURE STORY December 27, 2019

Year in Review – Over 40 years of Partnership for Prosperity


World Bank Group

Despite achieving tremendous success in its development journey, the Maldives is vulnerable to several internal and external factors, especially due to its heavy reliance on tourism for economic growth. As the country now seeks to implement vital reforms to improve education, healthcare and housing, and usher in greater prosperity for all, the World Bank has remained a trusted development partner and continues to strengthen its engagement in the Maldives.

Maldives became a member of the World Bank Group in 1978 and has enjoyed a trusted partnership for over 40 years. Since then, the country has implemented 32 projects across many development areas with more than USD 295 million in World Bank support.

to achieve the goals of ending absolute poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.

Senior delegation visits Maldives

Hartwig Schafer, Vice President for South Asia, together with senior colleagues from across the World Bank Group undertook a four-day official visit to the Maldives in January,  The delegation met with His Excellency the President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and other senior government officials where they discussed opportunities and challenges facing the Maldives, including the need for better planned decentralisation, affordable housing and funding for infrastructure projects.

During the visit, which marked more than 40 years of a strong partnership between the World Bank and Maldives, Vice President Schafer visited the city of Fuvahmulah in one of the southernmost atolls, to witness how community participation in a Bank-supported wetland management project was enhancing both the design and acceptability of climate change interventions. The delegation also visited a Bank-supported island waste management centre on the island of Maalhos in the central Baa atoll. Read more

The objective of the Wetlands Conservation and Coral Reef Monitoring for Adaptation to Climate Change Project for Maldives is to strengthen institutional capacity for planning and demonstration of community based wetland and water resources management, and to implement a coral reef monitoring system.

Partnering for a resilient, sustainable Maldives

The World Bank Group supported the government to host the Maldives Partnership Forum 2019 to expand on their Jazeera Raajje (island nation) vision. This includes the Greater Male’ development strategy and archipelago-wide decentralization that aims to facilitate investments in the larger islands.

The event, held from June 17-18, brought together a broad range of bilateral and multilateral development partners, including the World Bank Group, to discuss how the government can leverage new partnerships to meet its ambitious national sustainable development agenda, anchored in a blue economy, and achieve meaningful decentralization while improving social outcomes and judicial reform. 

"Maldives has implemented 32 projects across many development areas with more than USD 295 million in World Bank support since 1978."


Almost half of Maldives’ population and more than 70 percent of its critical infrastructure lie within 100 meters of its shoreline. Yet, Maldives aims to achieve a more sustainable development model. To achieve its ambition, the country is taking steps to better manage its waste and reduce its use of chemicals by maintaining its pristine environment and protecting its groundwater.

Tackling gender stereotypes through football

The World Bank partnered with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to conduct a five-day workshop on the island of Nolhivaranfaru in the northern Haa Dhaalu atoll to promote gender equality in Maldives. The workshop used football training, along with classes and discussions, to empower 21 young girls to challenge gender stereotypes and rethink their perceptions of their future.

Girls who attended the workshop became less tolerant than before toward gender stereotypes and gained self-confidence. The focus group discussions yielded suggestions for future interventions, including presenting girls and boys with role models in non-traditional occupations, helping guide students on where to study and where to work, presenting girls especially with information on scholarships and job websites, resume and interview tips. Read more.


World Bank Maldives takes to Twitter

The World Bank launched the first dedicated country Twitter handle for the Maldives, @WBMaldives. This bilingual platform, operating in both English and local Dhivehi language, aims to strengthen and amplify communications on the World Bank’s enhanced engagement with the Maldives while identifying public opinion issues pertaining to the island nation. Read more.

Second SCD identifies views on development opportunities, challenges

The World Bank conducted its second Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) in Maldives. The SCD process began in October with the launching of online public consultations aimed at gathering views from the Maldivian public on what they think are the most important issues and opportunities facing the country and how these can be addressed.

The online surveys, carried out in English and Dhivehi for a two-month period, were complemented by focused group discussions with representation from public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations. The focused group discussions took place in capital Male’, as well as Addu city in the south and the island of Kulhudhuffushi in the north.

The outcomes of the consultations will be reflected in the next Country Partnership Framework, which will not only reflect the investments proposed but also how they will be addressed. 


Executive Directors discuss development priorities

World Bank Executive Directors met with His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Hon. Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer in Male, Maldives to discuss development priorities.

A delegation of the World Bank Executive Directors (EDs) visited Maldives in early November, to directly experience the progress and results of the World Bank-supported projects in the archipelago. During their visit, the 12-member delegation met with His Excellency the President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Hon. Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance and Hon. Abdulla Sodiq, Mayor of Addu City. Discussions focused on development opportunities and key constraints, with a focus on macro-fiscal issues, as well as opportunities for private sector investments.

The EDs visited capital Male’ and its suburb, Hulhumale, as well as the southernmost atoll of Addu, where they engaged in a dialogue with the Women’s Development Council of Addu and environmental NGO Parley Maldives. Read more about visit here.


World Bank projects approved in 2019

Enhancing Employability and Resilience of Youth Project

This project is helping Maldives:

  • accelerate human capital accumulation
  • increase employment opportunities for young people
  • promote equitable economic and social progress
  • improve female labor-force participation by fostering new skills development, such as programming bootcamps to empower young women to pursue home-based work in ICT-related services


Approved Date: June 14, 2019
Total cost: USD 20 million (USD 10 million grant and USD 10 million credit from the International Development Association)
Implementing Agency: Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Economic Development


Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat DDO) and Pandemic Emergency Financing (PEF) Facility

This quick disbursing source of financing – the first Cat DDO by a South Asian country that is linked with the new pandemic emergency financing – will help the Maldives enhance:

  • financial capacity to effectively manage the human, physical and fiscal impact of climate change, natural disasters and diseases
  • the government’s ability to take immediate response, relief and recovery activities following a disaster or an emergency, including health.

Approved Date: July 1, 2019
Total cost: USD 10 million (USD 5 million grant and USD 5 million credit from the International Development Association)


Maldives First Fiscal Sustainability and Budget Credibility Development Policy Financing Operation

This project focuses on:

  • improving the policy framework for enhancing sustainability of public finances
  • strengthening the policy framework to increase budget credibility

This facility is complemented by the Cat DDO.

Approved Date: July 1, 2019
Total cost: USD 20 million (USD 10 million grant and USD 10 million credit from the International Development Association)